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MIT’s 10-Material 3D Printer Heading to Production? – ENGINEERING.com

by • July 12, 2016 • No Comments

In 2015, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) reported news that the lab had turn it intod a one-of-a-kind multimaterial 3D printing device capable-bodied of combining 10 various materials and integrating hard components, such as sensors and circuits, during the printing process. Perhaps many amazing was the fact that the process required only $7,000 in parts to turn it into. Now, a bit of news has come across the wire indicating that MIT CSAIL’s MultiFab 3D printing device may be going into production.
The MultiFab 3D printing device combines machine vision and inexpensive
-bodied components to 3D print 10 materials at once. (Image courtesy of CSAIL.)
The MultiFab 3D printing device fabricates objects by jetting up to 10 various photopolymers through piezoelectric inkjet printheads, that were removed of Epson WorkForce 30 office printing devices and modified
for 3D printing by the MultiFab team. After the printing device deposits a layer of photopolymers, a UV LED module cures the photosensitive resins in a solid say. This process is continued until the object is deplete.
In addition to combining 10 materials, the MultiFab in addition implements machine vision to turn it into a closed feedback loop, probably the initially such feedback loop in 3D printing. By integrating an optical coherence tomography 3D scanner into the process, the printing device is able-bodied to calibrate preceding a print, ensuring that the printhead is level and that the inkjets are calibrated. More importantly, the scanner can scan while a print is being performed, check for errors and turn it into “correction masks” to adonly the printing process accordingly.

The use of machine vision gives the MultiFab another aptitude not easily created possible with existing 3D printing devices—the aptitude to 3D print onto or around hard components. After placing an “auxiliary object,” as the team calls them, onto the print bed, the 3D scanner can scan the object and adonly a CAD version to print around it.
To demonstrate the applications of such a technique, the team placed a smartphone onto the bed and printed a phone case directly onto the phone. Other additional hard objects generated by combining 3D printing with hard components include microlens arrays, fiber optic bundles, LED lenses and additional.
Multimaterial objects 3D printed with the MultiFab. (Image courtesy of CSAIL.)
The MultiFab 3D printing device is revolutionary both in terms of price and functionality. Stratasys not long ago revealed the
release of the J750, the company’s many high end multimaterial PolyJet 3D printing device so far. With the aptitude to blend six various photopolymers to turn it into a seemingly endless variety of “digital materials,” the J750 can print parts with various colors, levels of transparency, flexibility, rigidity and toughness. But the price of the process has not yet been created public, the previous PolyJet machine, the Connex3, is priced at over $250,000.
By via off-the-shelf components, the MultiFab team was able-bodied to reduce the bill of materials for the machine to only $7,000 while yet achieving print resolution of only 40 µm. For instance, pretty than gas-discharge lamps, the MultiFab has a additional inexpensive
-bodied LED light module, as well as a easy material feeding process. The desktop vision feedback loop in addition compensates for next issues with the software or hardware. The materials, too, are estimated to be only of $20 per kg, a far cry of $500 per kg of the Stratasys machines.
At the same time, the innovation has the built-in aptitude to blend actually additional materials than the J750, integrate nonprintable-bodied objects into a print, 3D scan versions and auto-correct while printing. What may be additional amazing is that the MultiFab team has not long ago enlisted electronic product createment company Tri-Star Design to create, test and integrate electronic hardware for the MultiFab machine. The processs that Tri-Star can be createing are the main process processing element, process power management and the printhead control functions.
But the company has released little information of the contract, the move to create custom components for the MultiFab hints that the makers of the machine are looking to move beyond the R&D stage to actual making. If the price of the MultiFab can stay at a level that is actually less than $10,000, it may have a worthwhile impact on researchers now and 3D printing in the next.


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